More than 100 Words – Daily Pioneer

Independent music sensation Prateek Kuhad has tapped into the nerve of millennials with songs that have meaningful lyrics set to minimal music, says Saimi Sattar
I wish I could leave you my love
But my heart, is a mess
My days they begin with your name
And nights end with your breath.”
~ Cold/ Mess
If, “it’s complicated” is a status, then singer, song writer Prateek Kuhad certainly has the perfect lyrics to express it. And it is not surprising then, that since his first album, In Tokens and Charms (2015), he has been gradually tapping into the chords of one millennial after another.
The rise and rise of Prateek in the independent scene, besides the lyrics, can partially be attributed to the way we consume music now. He offers an insight. “People are getting a lot of exposure through internet which makes them open up to new kinds of music. Earlier choices were dominated by Indian film industry, like Bollywood. But now tastes have changed drastically. Moreover, this has also been influenced by the fact that people have more money and travel more making them more experimental. There are a lot of factors for the changing music tastes,” says he.
Even though his music is certainly not mainstream, he has not sung for the Hindi film industry but also written for it. Prateek, whose Kho Gaye Hum Kahan from the film Baar Baar Dekho (2016) was a huge hit, says, “I think it is completely different industry. Indie is a lot of live shows and performances. Writing for Bollywood is different because you are doing it for certain characters or for a particular scene or movie but when I am writing for myself, I can write whatever I wish to.”
That has certainly reflected in his songs which are not just about stringing together words that rhyme but seem to convey a lived emotion. “Sometimes the ones that I do write for my own records come from my own experiences in life but it is not black and white. There is a little bit of reality in the songs but then there are some sections that I add to those songs. At the end of the day, it should be a good song,” he says. 
Prateek, who is from Rajasthan, was pursuing Maths and Economics at New York University when he decided to take a break and pursue music. “I was always into music which I pursued alongside my studies during school and college. It had been playing on my mind that I should maybe try to give it a serious shot and see how it goes. Initially, I decided to pursue music for one year and then it went well,” says the 29-year-old singer whose family didn’t have any apprehensions about him switching careers.
But Prateek was not remotely connected with the music industry and given the fact that he wanted to be a part of the indie scene, the going could not have been easy. “I think everything was a bit of a challenge. I wasn’t a very good musician. I didn’t know anyone or where to start. I had to find people to work with as well as gigs to pay the bills and find ways to make money and records. Everything was a learning process,”
But he caught the attention of the listeners with his music which is primarily influenced by Americana or what is called American folk music. “My core song writing is still very folksy and Americana continues to influence me whether it is subject matter, the use of acoustic guitar, the kind of melodies and how I write my chords. I’ve also been been influenced by artists like Bob Dylan as well as a lot of classic rock like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. From India, I particularly like Lucky Ali, Euphoria as well as Strings from Pakistan. So, you can see my songs have influences from all over the world,” he says.
The influences show in the choice of language as well, for he writes and sings in both Hindi and English, which is something of a rarity. But Prateek shrugs it off by saying, “I would say that for me both languages were a part of my growing up years. I communicated in both equally. So writing in them came to me naturally. It was not an effort. I have listened to so much Hindi and English music while growing up and both songs have affected me in the same way. So, I just decided to do both. And why not?”
The reason why his songs pulsate among millennials is because Prateek has tapped into their emotions. He carefully considers the idea, pauses and says, “All of us are very emotional people. When I write, I end up filtering in a lot of my life experiences which come through and they end up being emotional. It is not necessarily intentional to write a song like that.”
Prateek is currently on his Winter Tour which is his most ambitious one till date and includes 30 shows across eight countries, including USA, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain and India which he Instagrammed to his 1,88,000 followers. The video of the one at Pune, where a full moon paid a perfect compliment to his Raat Raazi, elicited goosebumps. However, for him, it is not the awards that matter or the number of Instagram followers. “A lot award ceremonies are bogus and Instagram is also very superficial and I do not care about fame either but what I want to do is spread my music. If there are more people listening to it and if they discover, like and love it, I would be very happy. I would want to spread it,” he says.
When you ask him about his journey, one can hear Prateek hum for a while and then pause before saying, “I was very mediocre as a singer, song writer, performer and producer. Sometimes when I listen to songs from In Tokens and Charms, my first English album, I think the vocal delivery really sucked. I am a lot better as a singer, song writer and producer. I still have  along way to go and I am happy that I am progressing.”
Looking at the future, he says, “I will finish this tour and focus on doing it in the best way. So I am ready to close this year and head into the next.”
Yes, we are waiting to hear more than 100 Words from him.
(The Show is brought by ZEE LIVE Supermoon)


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